Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Every Exquisite Thing is the first book I’ve read by this author and I have to say I’m impressed.
It wasn’t at all what I was expecting but was just what I needed. It’s a story about not fitting in, figuring out what you want to do with your life and what kind of person you want to be.
It’s quirky, emotional and strangely addictive. If you like books that are a little bit different from the norm I would recommend you read it now.
Synopsis (from GoodReads)
From Matthew Quick, bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook , comes a heartfelt, unconventional and moving novel for readers who love John Green and Annabel Pitcher.
Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hard-working student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper – the mysterious, out-of-print cult-classic – the rebel within Nanette awakens.
As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young but troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that sometimes rebellion comes at a high price.
A celebration of the self and the formidable power of story, Every Exquisite Thing is Matthew Quick at his finest.
OK first up, I hate that it’s compared to John Green in the blurb. It seems at the moment that every contemporary YA read is “for readers who love John Green“. Personally I’m not a fan of John Green and found Looking for Alaska to be pretty boring. This book is so much better than that and that comparison nearly put me off reading it. In my opinion Every Exquisite Thing is also for readers who don’t particularly like John Green 🙂
Anyway, minor John Green rant over….
It’s actually really difficult to put into words what’s so great about Every Exquisite Thing as it’s such a hard book to describe. It is a sort of coming of age story but it’s very different from the usual and I think that’s what I loved about it. I’m a big fan of anything that’s kind of weird and this book is definitely that.
The story centers around Nanette who from outward appearance seems to have everything sorted. She has plenty of friends, gets good grades and is looking at a very bright future but in reality she’s not sure it’s a future she wants. She’s doing everything she can to hold everything together and trying to please everyone but once she reads a book titled the Bubblegum Reaper she decides to just stop.
The Bubblegum Reaper starts her thinking about things and desperate to know the real meaning behind it she tracks down the reclusive author and develops a friendship with him. Through him she meets others who have been captivated by the book including a poet who she begins a relationship with.
I loved how the ideas in a book somehow managed to inspire her to act, to stand up for herself. As an avid reader I can certainly think of a number of books that have inspired me to some kind of action. I could also definitely relate to that feeling of being trapped in a life you’ve somehow fallen into but may not actually want. Going through the motions for lack of a better idea of what to do. It was fascinating to watch Nanette rebelling as she fought to be and do what she wanted. She’s a well written and engaging character and you can’t be sure what she’ll do next.
The other characters were equally fascinating. All flawed in their own ways. Struggling to find their place in the world and in some cases very troubled and mixed up. There’s a lot of emotion and feeling in the story and I think that’s what made is so appealing to me. It’s not an action packed story but the pacing is just right and the dialogue is pretty much perfect.
I was going to say I enjoyed it immensely but enjoyed isn’t quite the right word. It’s probably more that it kept me enthralled from start to finish. Definitely a read I’d recommend for all who like a good YA contemporary (whether you’re a John Green fan or not).
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC.